The Use of Different International References to Assess Child Anthropometric Status in a Malaysian Population
Young, Elizabeth H.
Sandhu, Manjinder S.
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Partap, U., Young, E.H., Allotey, P., Sandhu, M.S. and Reidpath, D.D. (2017) ‘The use of different international references to assess child anthropometric status in a malaysian population’, The Journal of Pediatrics, 190, pp. 63-68.e1. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.07.049.
Objective To assess the prevalence of child underweight, overweight, and obesity in a Malaysian population according to 3 international references because classification of anthropometric status may differ according to the reference used to express body mass index (BMI). Study design We assessed data from 6414 children aged 6-18 years, collected by the South East Asia Community Observatory. Child underweight, overweight, and obesity were expressed according to 3 internationally used BMI references: World Health Organization 2007, International Obesity Task Force 2012, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2000. We assessed agreement in classification of anthropometric status among the references using Cohen's kappa statistic and estimated underweight, overweight, and obesity prevalence according to each reference using mixed effects Poisson regression. Results There was poor to moderate agreement between references when classifying underweight, but generally good agreement when classifying overweight and obesity. Underweight, overweight, and obesity prevalence estimates generated using the 3 references were notably inconsistent. Overweight and obesity prevalence estimates were higher using the World Health Organization reference vs the other 2, and underweight prevalence was up to 8.5% higher and obesity prevalence was about 4% lower when using the International Obesity Task Force reference. Conclusions The choice of reference to express BMI may influence conclusions about child anthropometric status and malnutrition prevalence. This has implications regarding strategies for clinical management and public health interventions.